How to Stay in Shape and Speed Your Recovery After an Injury

Getting hurt sucks, but you don't have to just sit on the sidelines

Women's Health Magazine—May 22, 2014

No matter how careful or conscientious you are, if fitness is a part of your life, sooner or later you're likely to suffer an injury.

What you do next is critical. There's a fine line between pushing through pain and giving your body too much of a break—and, it turns out, it's not always that easy to decide between the two.

Stay Fit Without Doing More Harm

Exercising through pain can further stress hurt joints and tissues, potentially turning a temporary annoyance into a more serious problem. But don't get too cozy on the couch: Any time you spend on the sidelines causes detraining, or a regression of your current fitness level. In fact, decreasing workouts for just two weeks can significantly reduce your cardiovascular fitness, lean muscle mass, and insulin sensitivity, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

When you exercise around your injury instead, it doesn't just keep you on track with your goals—it can actually help speed up your recovery time by reducing all-around deconditioning. "Strong supporting muscles can help take some of the pressure off of an injured joint or muscle," says Michael Silverman, a physical therapist at the Hospital for Special Surgery James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center in New York City. "Plus, increasing your heart rate circulates extra blood through your body, which helps damaged tissues get the nutrients they need to repair themselves."

Read the full article on womenshealthmag.com.

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